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Book of the Week: Hunger

Hunger, by Roxane Gay

Memoirs can be truly powerful reads, and Hunger was one of the most soul-connecting I’ve read in a long time. The author, Roxane, shares her story about living in her body—the body trauma that changed her life, her food addiction’s impact on her body and her unyielding desire to protect her body from future harm.

For me, although our situations were not identical, the feelings, reasons and self-talk behind it all certainly seemed to be.

We all have our personal traumas and some kind of addiction, escapism or vice that we turn to. For some people, it is a hidden habit; for others, like myself, Roxane and a slew of other people all over the world, our fight with food is painstakingly evident. You literally see it.

What I found absolutely beautiful about Roxane’s journey is her raw honesty, grace through pain and resilience despite bouts of shame. I could relate wholeheartedly to her struggle, felt compassion for the heartbreaking trauma that led her to her struggle and saw so much wisdom in her no holds barred account of life.

Roxane has endured some horrific situations in her life, and without wanting any pity at all, she matter-of-factly told her story with a truth so visible that if you knew her pain, you felt it deep within. That’s what I did, as I kept my Kleenex nearby. Not out of shame or sadness, but out of recognition and realization that someone understood.

Getting personal, I knew what she meant by she ate to protect herself; in my early years, it’s how it first developed for me. First as a coping mechanism for childhood trauma. Then it became a shield against the wrong kind of love, which ironically, was invited in anyway. Then it just spiraled, and honestly, can still spiral, even as we work through the reasons, pain and healings. No one wants an addiction of any kind, and the path to fight back is not an easy one. But it certainly helps to know there are others out there that can relate.

There was no fairy tale ending—but it sure was self-illuminating and powerful.

Thank you for your vulnerability and truth, Roxane. Through your words, others feel much less alone in their journeys.

To hear more about my thoughts on Roxane and how I connected to her, check out my video book review, Find Yourself in a Character:

To learn more about this week’s author, Roxane Gay, you can find her here:

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